New York City, July 31, 2017

★★★★ The subway station had breathed in fresh atmosphere, but the train car was a rolling hotbox, and the effects of it would not wear off through an aboveground transfer and a second train, with unbroken air conditioning. The sun on the East Side was sharp. Even when the day reached its peak, though, the heat was never cruel. The baked pavement of Union Square was soothing for feet chilled by the office. The sky had lost the depth and purity of its blue in favor of something chalkier. In the still air of gathering evning, the buildings far downtown shimmered in soft colors. Near at hand, the bright parts of the big facades of Midtown buildings were reflected in the big facades of other Midtown buildings. The zigzagging up-and-crosstown path toward home accidentally went by Trump Tower; the brass canopy was dull and shabby behind the barricades, cut off from the exuberant light all around. The five-year-old made it to the southeast corner of the Park before giving himself fully over to whining that his legs would not carry him further. It was one against three, but his legs had in truth been through a long day, and hailing a cab was faster than winning the argument would have been. Somewhere around Columbus Circle, raindrops began peppering the windshield. The sky above was blue, and the west was lemony, and the five-year-old was wrong yet vindicated. The wipers came on. As the taxi pulled up to the building, a figure came into view in the corner of the forecourt, bent over, pointing its pale and completely bare behind out at the world, while the rain kept falling on the bricks.

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